Monday, 16 February 2015

One Of Those Days - Working Mum

I only posted last week about how I was finding being back at work a year on and how it's taken me the best part of a year to finally feel ok about it and the effect it has on everything else and this is the case for the most part. However there are down days and today is one of them.
Every so often I get a swamped by a rush of negative feelings, guilt, resentment, sadness and it quite literally knocks me for six.
The overwhelming guilt I felt at the start of last year not long after my return comes flooding back to me, guilty that I am not there with Luke all of the time, guilty that I wasn't there to make sure he puts his coat on and zips it right up to under his chin before he goes outside because he's had a cold and sore throat recently.
Resentment is a relatively new feeling I have, I was beginning to resent the fact that my time with Luke on my days off also had to be shared with other family members. Weekends is when he sees his Grandad and cousins and I can't keep him all to myself, I have to share him and that's fine and I wouldn't want it any other way because family is so important to me but sometimes it all get s a bit too much and I just want to shut us away for the weekend to watch Fireman Sam and nap on the couch and tip all of the toy boxes on to the floor! Today I felt resentment because for the hour and a half I had with him he cried, refused his dinner, moaned and whined for no particular reason after I had just been told by my mother and niece how good he had been all day and what fun they had all had going to see the horse and walking in the fields. Why do I have to be the one that misses out on that?
It's makes me sad that I get annoyed when we have evenings like this, where it isn't play time for that last hour and a half because thats what it usually is, that bit of time before after I get home and the bed time routine begins we all get to the floor and have some fun and play, desperately trying to get in as much quality time before my little man goes off to bed.

Somedays it just feels like I'm missing out on so much and I begin to wonder is it really worth it?
These days are few and far between but when they do come around, I would give my right arm to be able to be the stay at home Mum.

Friday, 13 February 2015

You Are So Annoying

He Annoys Me Because:

  • He never plumps up the pillows when he makes the bed
  • He could walk past a basket of washed and folded clothes a hundred times and not think to put it away
  • He doesn't scream and shout when he needs to vent, he keeps it all in most of the time, unlike me who needs to rant out loud to get things off my chest
  • He has so many white t-shirts / jerseys that they need a washing machine load of their own
  • Sometimes he doesn't put his football gear in the wash for a week, it then stinks out the whole house
  • He can read me like a book, annoying because I am now predictable to him and can never stay mad at him for too long any more as he knows all the right things to say to make things better
  • He said he would walk the dog everyday when we got him, he doesn't
  • He complains about my stuff on the Sky planner even though he has a lot more on it than me and we still have loads of space left on it, so what if it takes me a year to actually get around to watching it?!

I Annoy Him Because:

  • I always fall asleep first while watching Netflix in bed which means he has to wait until the next night to continue an episode of whatever series we are watching at the time
  • I end up on his side of the bed most nights, not leaving him much room
  • I leave his "good" chopping knives in the washing up bowl in water, drives him mad but I just forget, apparently it ruins them
  • I stack the dishwasher wrong according to him
  • I paint my nails in bed
  • I leave my handbags hanging on the end of the stairs
  • I make him pose for photographs
  • I worry excessively about everything
I think I actually could have written a lot more about the things that I do that annoy him but we'll cap it at 8!

As much as we annoy each other and get on each other's nerves, we love each other a whole lot more than any of that.
We are equals.
We are best friends.
We are a team.
We laugh together, cry together, fight together, celebrate together and there's no one in this world that understands me more than he does.

Our Valentines day will probably consist of us doing all the above annoying things as usual with a few extra "I Love You's" thrown in but sure what more could I want eh?!




Thursday, 12 February 2015

Back To Work...1 Year On

January marked my return to work after maternity leave, one year on. When I went back to work this year after the Christmas holidays it was hard to believe that that time last year I was sat in my car bawling my eyes out crying looking in the kitchen window from my car to see my little boy and his Daddy having breakfast while I was about to be apart from them for the best part of 10 hours.

10 hours a day, 4 days a week, I couldn't even think about it without feeling sick and distraught. I had so many questions, doubts, fears going around in my head.
How on earth was I going to cope with being apart from Luke for that long? How was he going to cope without being with me all of the time? Will his Dad/Nan/Aunty stick to his routine on the days he was with them? What if he won't nap for them because nap time consisted of me lying down with him for half an hour before making a ninja like exit? What if they didn't put his bear next to his face and tuck him in under their arm to soothe him when he was upset or sick?
I was frantically writing out notes for them all every week, each time his routine developed and changed, it would frustrate me when my sister would say not to worry about sending food for his lunch / dinner that she had it sorted, I couldn't relax enough to let it be so I would insist on packing his food and him eating what I sent. I would panic when I would ring an lunch time and he hadn't napped, thinking that they mustn't have done things right or was missing me too much to sleep.

I really was on edge all of the time. It did effect me at work for a few months, I felt like I couldn't fully immerse myself into my job as I was too worried about Luke. Not just Luke but I was constantly thinking of all of the other things I had to get done at home but didn't have the time, I was coming in in the evenings trying to do all of those oh so important jobs while trying to get in as much time with Luke as I could. By the time I get home, I'm lucky if there is an hour and a half before Luke goes to bed and we all know how that last hour or 2 before bed time goes, I was getting all of the tired cries!

Do you know what though? He was fine, the house was fine and eventually I was fine. Luke developed his own little routine with his Dad / Nan / Aunty on the days he was with them, he would things with them that he wouldn't do with me and I slowly learned that that was ok. He chills with his Daddy on the couch before nap time, he goes out for a walk with his Aunt before nap time and with his Nan he like to have some "Nanny cuddles" with her in his room before she pts him down for a nap. He knows now that most Thursdays he goes down town with his Aunt while she runs some errands and they have their lunch out, he knows that when he goes to his Nan he will feed the birdies and Mam will bath him there before going home to bed, he knows that the evenings he's at home with Dad for dinner that Mam will shortly be home and we will end up chasing each other around the house before getting ready for bed. He's content in each of the routines he has with all of us and this makes it so much easier to go to work each morning, knowing that he's perfectly happy with whoever may be looking after him on that day.

It took me the best part of the year to fully relax and to stop freaking out that I never get a chance to get things done. In fact I made a promise to myself for 2015 to not stress about those things as much and enjoy the here and now a bit more. I made Thursdays the day where I spend the evening after Luke has gone to bed doing the house work, washing floors, cleaning bathrooms etc and that's it done out of the way in time for my days off. It was unrealistic of me to think I could do all of those everyday or even every second day. I found I was having zero time to myself and it was really beginning to get me down. Now though, the other evenings of the week are free and has allowed me time to catch up on some of my own hobbies in the evenings after Luke has gone to bed. He now has my full attention from the time I get home until the time he goes to bed. My Fridays off are spent doing our own routine of the shopping and playing in the afternoons and I can already see the benefits for Luke of having me fully focused on him during this time rather than trying to do a hundred things at once.

Do you want to know the main thing I have discovered though? I like my job and that's not a crime. I've worked in this job for 6 and a half years, we have a small but strong team at work and the people there are people I would consider friends as well as colleagues and that makes it so much easier to come to work 4 days a week. I spent most of 2014 feeling guilty because I was away from Luke and because secretly I enjoyed coming to work, I thought that was something I shouldn't admit to. It's ok to admit that I like going to work, having that time at work allows me to be a happier, stronger person at home. I've never denied the fact that I don't think I would be able to be at home full time, I've worked since the day I turned 16 and it's part of who I am but it took a lot of last year to remove the guilty feeling that had decided  to rear its head of feeling that while leaving Luke at home.
Sure if I had the chance I probably wold have taken some extra time off or even stayed at home with him until was 2, sure I would love a shorter working week, 3 days would be ideal but that's not possible right now and that's fine.
He is constantly surrounded by family members when I am not there and really enjoys his time with them and the quality time with his Daddy. Luckily the other half works later shifts so he is always at home with him in the mornings and I am always there in the evenings. It's full on and sometimes I don't get to see my partner all that much with the way his shifts go, but it works because we make it work and we finally seem to have settled into a happy routine to do so.

I'm looking forward to 2015 being a less stressful year on that front and savouring all of those precious moments that I do have with Luke and our little family as well as being able to go to work knowing that Luke is in safe hands and that I can enjoy my job guilt free...to a certain extent anyway!

Days with Mum are spent catching up on cuddles


Days with Dad are spent messing and sending selfies to Mum

Days with his Aunty Heather are spent having fun in the park

Days spent with Nanny are spent exploring in the garden
 
Have you returned to work recently after maternity leave? How are you finding it? I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Creamy Cajun Chicken

Since joining Slimming World I have been enjoying a lot of my old favourite recipes in a much healthier way but I have also discovered some wonderful tasty recipes that are quite simple to make.

Here's one of my favourites: I found a similar recipe online (for the life of me I can't remember where!) but I changed it up a bit to suit my own tastes and I must say it's delicious!

Creamy Cajun Chicken & Mushroom

2x Chicken breasts, diced
Handful of mushrooms, chopped (add as many as you like, peppers would be good here too)
Cajun seasoning (as much as you like to suit your own taste)
1x Tsp Minced Garlic / 1x Crushed garlic clove (whatever is in the kitchen!)
180ml Chicken stock
2x Light Cheese Triangles
4x Tblsp Fat Free Fromage Frais

  • Cook chicken in a frying pan with some Frylight vegetable spray
  • Put chopped mushrooms into a bag, add some Cajun seasoning and shake until they are all coated
  • Add them to chicken and cook for a couple of minutes
  • Add chicken stock, garlic and Cajun seasoning, leave on a medium heat until stock has reduced by about half and chicken is cooked through
  • Add cheese triangles and keep stirring until they have dissolved
  • Take pan off the heat and stir in fromage frais until smooth and creamy, I added in a bit more seasoning here to give it an extra kick which made it quite spicy.
  • Serve - I served ours with mixed veg and potato cubes*
*Potato cubes - peel and chop potatoes, put into a bag, add sea salt and pepper and shake. Spray an oven tray with some Frylight Olive Oil spray and put the potato cubes on there, spritz some more Frylight over the potatoes before putting them in the oven for about 25min*

This is quite a runny sauce so would also be ideal with pastas or rice.

This serves too and counts for 1.5 syns or you can use the cheese as your HXA

I've made this a few times now and still haven't managed to get a picture because it's gone before I remember :)

Monday, 2 February 2015

A Week In Dinners #1

I am delighted to be joining in with the A Week In Dinners linky run by the lovely Sinead from Bumbles of Rice. I love having a nose at what everyone has been having for dinner, I'm always in need of some food inspiration. My week is starting on a Friday as it's shopping day and the day I can grab 5 minutes to make a quick meal plan for the week.

So here goes:

Friday:

Was Shepard's Pie that the other half made the night before, he's quite nifty in the kitchen, he didn't even get any though as he had to work late so I took the dish out to Mum's where we all had a piece. It was yummy, he went to extra effort to make it Slimming World friendly...he was obviously trying to rack up some brownie points to use in the future ;-)




 Saturday:

It was rare occasion on Saturday that we were all at home for dinner together. Usually the OH is working until 10pm/11pm so myself and Luke would have dinner in my parents but this week we had a whole weekend off together, we didn't know ourselves. So I made us a dinner of turkey grills, garlic potatoes and mixed veg. Luke had a turkey drumstick and "bippies" aka chippies (I sliced up a potato and season with a bit of Schwartz Season All and pop in the oven for 25mins). He loves chips, this comes from robbing them off of his Grandad's plate of a Saturday evening, so I give him a healthy version. I also strategically placed some broccoli on his plate but he's no fool and didn't touch it, he used to love the stuff!



Sunday:

I picked up some stuffed chicken breasts wrapped in bacon from Lidl in the afternoon and cooked them up with oven roasted potatoes and carrots seasoned with the Schwartz stuff again, a bit too much came out of the pot so they were quite strong but still nice. Luke wasn't in the mood for anything other than moaning that night so he didn't bother eating anything!



Monday:

A dinner for one night, the OH was working late again and my Mum had Luke so he was fed by the time I collected him. I made myself pizza topped chicken and some sweet potato chips with some veg. Sweet potato was peeled, sliced and mixed with garlic powder, chilli powder and paprika before going in the oven.



Tuesday:

I was late home because I had to go to my weigh in at Slimming World on the way home so by the time Luke was in bed we were just too tired to cook so, uh oh, we got take away...on a Tuesday...the day of weigh in, disaster! It was yummy though! Luke had mashed potato, carrots and fish fingers.

Wednesday:

Homemade chicken curry with SW chips. Mum had made a big pot of curry and gave me some so I reheated that and made some chips, a couple of potatoes,peeled, sliced, seasoned with sea salt, pepper and paprika and put in the oven with some Fry Light spray, it was quite nice. Luke had potatoes, bacon and cabbage in my sisters before I collected him.



Thursday:

Again the OH was working so I just threw a chicken kiev in the oven for my dinner after Luke had gone to bed. Luke had mash, mince, vegetable and gravy in my sister's for his dinner before I collected him.

So there you have it, a week in dinners for us :)








Saturday, 31 January 2015

Me & Mine January

So here we are, entering into our second round of Me & Mine for 2015. I really didn't realise how much this monthly project would grow to mean to me when I began this time a year ago but I really look forward to capturing that family portrait during the month every month.

January this year has been quite busy and not as dreary as this month usually is. Work has been busy for us both and Luke has been keeping us on our toes, he's learning so many new things everyday, it's hard to keep up! This month I also celebrated my 29th birthday, eek the last year of my twenties. I celebrated with a nice meal out with my friends and got spoilt by my family. I was given a voucher for a pamper day at a local retreat so am looking forward to using that soon. I spent this month getting around to a doing a few odd jobs that I had been meaning to do for most of last year so I feel like we've had a good start to the new year and we are really looking forward to the Spring.

Here we are in this month's family portrait, and yes that little chappy with his cheeky smile is most definitely my toddler, no longer my baby, I can really see how much he's grown in these pictures:



This month Luke loves:
  • Learning his 123's and ABC's 
  • Rice Cakes
  • Helping everyone and anyone with the hoovering
This month Dad loves:
  • Playing football
  • Watching Bones on Netflix
  • Finding a 3ltr bottle of Dr Pepper in Iceland
This month Mum loves:
  • Catch up dinner with the girls
  • Making the most of my Fridays off work with Luke
  • Sprucing up our bedroom and making it nice and cosy




Thursday, 29 January 2015

Pizza Topped Chicken

I am so happy I discovered this healthy dish, it's become my new favourite dinner and so quick and easy to make. For Slimming World people, this is half a syn for the tomato puree (open to correction though!) and if you are using the cheese as Healthy Extra A.

Ingredients:

1x Chicken Breast
1x Tblsp Tomato Puree
1x Tsp Minced Garlic 
2x Slices of Lean Ham
3x Mushrooms
Handful of Reduced Fat Cheese, grated

Method:

  • Slit your chicken breast in half, ensuring not to cut right the way through, make like a butterfly shape
  • Add some Fry Light spray to a frying pan and brown the chicken on either side on a medium heat for about 5minutes
  • Put in the oven to bake for about 15 - 20mins on 170 degrees, fan oven
  • Meanwhile chopp your ham and mushrooms and fry in the pan
  • Mix the tomato puree and minced garlic in a small dish
  • Once chicken breast is cooked through, spread the tomato puree mixture on to it and then top with the ham and mushrooms and then the cheese.
  • Put back in the oven for another 5 minutes or until cheese is melted to your liking. I let mine go a bit crispy on top.
I served this with sweet potato fries and mixed veg. I seasoned my sweet potato with garlic, chilli and paprika and added a little bit of cornflour to give them a crunch, baked them in the oven for about half an hour.